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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 01-03-18

Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Sunday, March 18, 2001


  • [01] Klerides says there's no evidence of Milosevic millions in Cyprus
  • [02] Out on a Limo
  • [03] Money back, with interest: small investor wins court battle
  • [04] Rolandis plugs EAC liberalization
  • [05] Students 'attacked police outside Paphos hospital'
  • [06] Bomb wrecks car in Nicosia

  • [01] Klerides says there's no evidence of Milosevic millions in Cyprus

    By Jennie Matthew

    FINANCE Minister Takis Klerides has told journalists in Washington DC that there is no confirmed evidence that money smuggled out of Yugoslavia during the presidency of Slobodan Milosevic found its way to Cyprus.

    His statement flew in the face of announcements made by the governor of the Yugoslav Central Bank, Mladjen Dinkic, that Cyprus was the main destination for laundered money from Yugoslavia between 1991 and 1994.

    Dinkic estimates a total of $4 billion left the country from 1992 to 1994. He said this week he had presented Attorney-general Alecos Markides with the names of more than two pages of company account numbers and the names of 10 offshore companies based in Cyprus, owned by the Yugoslav state, that were suspected of illegal money laundering.

    He also told journalists that there is an active account, in the name of a close relative of Milosevic in Cyprus, which has been located in the past few weeks.

    The Central Bank has persistently denied rumours of rife money laundering in and through Cyprus.

    Klerides said in Washington on Friday that the information presented by Dinkic had yet to be confirmed, and that no information had emerged to suggest a link between Milosevic and Cyprus financial institutions.

    A Yugoslav team is still in Cyprus investigating documents, following Dinkic's two-day visit. They expect to present more information to Markides this week.

    Klerides said that if Cyprus had any evidence then it would have been made public, emphasising his co-operation with the investigation.

    While Yugoslavia had approached other countries for support, Dinkic said Cyprus was the first country to co-operate.

    “We have also advised them that for information they cannot get through the normal channels with us because they do not have any supporting evidence or documentation they could direct the information to The Hague tribunal,” Klerides said.

    Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides is due to fly to Belgrade on March 28 for a 48-hour visit, during which he is expected to give the green light for Yugoslavia to proceed with her Cyprus investigations.

    Yugoslav investigators are working with the co-operation of the US, the European Community and the War Crimes Tribunal at the Hague.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [02] Out on a Limo

    Wheels within wheels as Kyprianou develops an aversion to Mercedes

    By Makarios Droushiotis

    HOUSE of Representatives President Spyros Kyprianou has come in for a lot of stick for demanding that his Mercedes S320 -- bought for him in summer 1999 for £28,885 -- be replaced after one year.

    He insisted that the car made too much noise, and in September last year his chauffeur took it to the Ministry of Finance grounds, where it was parked under a makeshift garage and left. Kyprianou made it clear that he was not going to keep the Mercedes, and also that he expected to be bought a new car. He received a brand-new BMW 735i in January this year.

    But why did Kyprianou not like his Merc? After all, he himself had ordered the car in July 1999. He was visited by a Mercedes salesman and shown all the brochures so he could choose the colour and the upholstery he wanted in his new set of wheels.

    But once he took delivery of the new vehicle, it all seemed to go wrong. He complained that when he sat in back there was a noise which made him feel dizzy. The supplier of the car informed the factory in Germany about the problem, and was advised to change the rims and the tyres.

    This appeared to do the trick, and Kyprianou did not complain about the car again -- until last September, when he began demanding its replacement. According to the government spokesman the car was sent to the Mercedes garage six times to be checked and the mechanics found nothing wrong with it. But Kyprianou was adamant and insisted on a replacement. He ordered his chauffeur to take the car and leave it outside the Ministry of Finance, and demanded that he be bought a new car. And the government duly obliged.

    But why did Kyprianou take such a hardline stance, doggedly refusing to be chauffeured about in a brand new limo that most people would have given their left arm for? Speaking at Larnaca Airport on Monday, he said he had the right to choose what make of car he would use, implying that it was not the specific car he did not like but its make.

    So how did he develop such an aversion to the Merc marque? As he has so far not given a convincing answer, all we can do is speculate that his decision may have had something to do with certain events that took place last August.

    This was the time that Kyprianou had aired his demand that he be given the opportunity to address the Greek parliament. I interviewed him about this demand and the interview was published in the Athens newspaper Eleftherotypia on August 21, 2000, under the headline 'I am worried about the slide of the Cyprus problem'.

    This prompted Cypriot businessman Christofis Economides, who has never tried to hide his dislike of Kyprianou, to send an article to Eleftherotypia in response to the House President's claims. His article, which ran under the headline 'What Kyprianou forgets about the Cyprus peace process', was published on August 28. In that article, Economides said Kyprianou bore a huge responsibil ity for “the disastrous course of the Cyprus problem”.

    Kyprianou reacted to the criticism in his customary way. He made repeated phone calls to Eleftherotypia to complain about Economides' article and also sent them a letter. He wrote that “apart from the well-known hostility that he (Economides) has towards me, he mentions certain facts in a way that is tantamount to a distortion of historic reality”. He also said he would send the paper a more detailed response to Economides's claims when he returned from a trip to the United States.

    The detailed response was never sent to Eleftherotypia. On his return to Nicosia, Kyprianou appears to have taken out his anger on his Mercedes S320 instead. The importer of Mercedes in Cyprus is the Cyprus Import Coporation (CIC), which is owned by the family of Christofis Economides.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [03] Money back, with interest: small investor wins court battle

    By Martin Hellicar

    A LIMASSOL man paved the way this week for other small investors to recoup money sunk into firms that promised to list on the stock market but failed to deliver the shares.

    Thanks to a law brought in by parliament last October, Neoclis Thoma secured a Limassol District Court ruling forcing Alfa Concrete Ltd to pay him back the £10,000 he gave them to secure their shares, plus six per cent interest.

    Alfa Concrete Ltd announced their intention to list on the market early last year and Thoma was among those who took them up on an offer to buy shares 'up-front', prior to the listing. Months later, the company was still waiting in the long queue to join the bourse. On October 25, the House of Representatives, mindful of an outcry over such delays from small investors, passed a law giving companies like Alfa Concrete just weeks in which to list and issue shares or pay back money given on the promise of shares.

    Most companies waiting in the listing queue complied with the new law, but some did not.

    Thoma, the District Court heard, asked Alfa Concrete Ltd for his money back but the company refused. During the hearing of the case, the company argued that the law approved by parliament last October was unconstitutional and they would therefore not pay the investor his cash back. Alfa Concrete lawyers said the law violated the right to establish a “free” business deal.

    Last Thursday, the court rejected the company's argument and ordered Alfa to pay up, with interest.

    Though not binding for other district courts, the Limassol count's decision sets a potentially important precedent and could be bad news for other companies failing to comply with the parliamentary 'pay-back' deadline.

    “Many companies have already paid the money back but this will affect the dozen or so that have been refusing to do so,” one stock market analyst commented yesterday.

    The analyst said the court decision was a victory for the small investor.

    “All these companies said 'We are going to list, so come and buy some shares off us'. They were doing this before they had even applied for a listing. They were taking people's money, holding on to it and then not getting listed for six to 12 months, if at all,” the expert said.

    'This decision is good for the small investor; it shows the companies that they cannot mess them about.”

    The market analyst said the court decision could lead to “hundreds of thousands” of pounds being paid to small investors who took companies to courts.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [04] Rolandis plugs EAC liberalization

    By a Staff Reporter

    AFTER the telecommunications sector, the government is now moving towards liberalising electricity supply services.

    Earlier this month, the government announced plans for turning the semi- governmental Telecommunications Authority (CyTA) into a privatised company, with the state as the main shareholder.

    Yesterday, Commerce Minister Nicos Rolandis spoke of similar liberalisation plans for the Electricity Authority (EAC).

    Rolandis said the first step on the road to opening up the electricity supply sector would be the “step-by-step” liberalisation of power distribution services. He said this process would be completed by January 1, 2003.

    The Minister said the government had no plans to privatise the EAC, and added that liberalisation of utilities was a necessary part of the island's effort to come into line with EU norms.

    But the leader of main opposition party AKEL, Demetris Christofias, said the government's plans for the EAC were a thinly veiled attempt to usher in privatisation of the electricity supply.

    Christofias said his party was all for the modernisation of utilities, but opposed plans to sell them off to the private sector.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [05] Students 'attacked police outside Paphos hospital'

    By a Staff Reporter

    THREE 18-year-old students were yesterday charged with attacking police officers during a brawl involving students, National Guardsmen and other youths outside Paphos hospital on Friday afternoon.

    A police officer had to be treated in hospital after the mêlée, while one of the three arrested youths also had to be treated by doctors before being detained by police.

    Police said riot squad officers had had to intervene to break up a fight involving more than 20 youths outside the hospital at around 1.30pm.

    The fracas was a follow-on from an ugly confrontation between students from Limassol and Paphos secondary schools in the Pissouri area earlier in the day. The students had gone on school outings to the same coastal spot when they apparently started exchanging verbal abuse and then punches. One Paphos student had to be taken to the town's hospital with six broken teeth.

    The second, more serious, brawl broke out outside the hospital, where the injured student's friends had gathered after hearing of the attack.

    The exact circumstances surrounding the hospital brawl were still unclear yesterday.

    Police said the three arrested students, who come from a Paphos area village, faced charges of causing an affray and attacking officers. “One of them has already been charged and released and the other two will be released later today, after being charged,” a Paphos police duty officer said yesterday.

    This was the second incident of student brawling in the space of 24 hours. On Thursday night, a Cyprus University student was injured in a fracas at the Nicosia campus following the announcement of student election results.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [06] Bomb wrecks car in Nicosia

    By a Staff Reporter

    A BOMB went off under a car parked in a residential area of Nicosia early yesterday.

    No one was hurt in the blast, but the Ayios Dhometios explosion was heard miles away.

    “My heart jumped into my mouth, I thought the Turks were invading,” said one local resident who had been rudely awakened by the 1am blast.

    Police forensic experts said the explosion had been caused by a powerful homemade device placed under the rear wheel of a Pajero jeep belonging to 35-year-old clothing importer Charalambos Charalambous. The vehicle, which was parked on Photiou Street, was badly damaged.

    Bomb and arson attacks have become an almost daily occurence in recent weeks, much to the embarrassment of the police force and Justice Minister Nicos Koshis.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

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